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Gastrointestinal and liver disease in pregnancy.

This chapter on the gastrointestinal and hepatic systems in pregnancy focusses on those conditions that are frequent and troublesome (gastro-oesophageal reflux and constipation), distressing (hyperemesis gravidarum) or potentially fatal (obstetric cholestasis, acute fatty liver of pregnancy and HELLP (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets) syndrome). It also highlights the clinical challenge obstetricians may face in managing rare conditions such as the Budd-Chiari syndrome, liver transplantation, primary biliary cirrhosis and Wilson disease. The clinical presentation of liver and gastrointestinal dysfunction in pregnancy is not specific, and certain 'abnormalities' may represent physiological changes of pregnancy. Diagnosis and management are often difficult because of atypical symptoms, a reluctance to use invasive investigations and concerns about the teratogenicity of the medications. The best available evidence to manage these conditions is discussed in the chapter.

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